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Flying the Flag on UK Government Buildings

When should flags be flown?

Following the publication of the White Paper, 'The Governance of Britain: Constitutional Renewal (CM 7342-1), and the Consultation Analyses Document (CM 7342-3)' on 25 March 2008, the Government has decided give UK Government departments the freedom to fly the Union Flag on their buildings whenever they choose to.

In addition, the Government has decided that, to celebrate the Union’s constituent parts, on the patron saints’ days of Scotland and Wales, the Saltire of St Andrew and the Welsh Dragon Flag may also be flown with the Union Flag on Government buildings in the wider London Whitehall area where there are two or more flag poles.

Under the flag flying guidance, on St George’s Day the Cross of St George may be flown from UK Government buildings in England with two or more flag poles.

To view details of the scheduled dates on which flags should be flown please see the list of flag flying dates below. The Union Flag will be flown on our properties from 8:00am until sunset on these dates.

The Director for Communities may issue advice on occasions when additional unexpected flag flying is required (eg following the death of a prominent individual or as a mark of respect for a significant event).

Managers are responsible for determining any other flag flying arrangements on council properties within their respective areas. Flags will only be flown for the duration of the one special day or a relevant visit.

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How should the Union Flag be flown?

The correct way up for the Union Flag when flying is with the broader diagonal white stripe at the top left hand side of the flag nearest the flagpole:

Union Flag - correct

Union Flag - the wrong way up - wrong

The Union Flag must always be flown in a 'superior' position :

  • On the highest flagpole
  • On the centre flagpole where there is an odd number of poles of the same height, or
  • On the left centre flagpole viewed from the front of the building, where there is an even number of the same height.

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What is half-mast and when should flags be flown at half mast?

When flags are to be flown at half-mast they should be two-thirds up between the top and bottom of the flagstaff with at least the height of the flag between the top of the flag and the top of the flagpole.

When raising the flag it should always be hoisted right up and then lowered back down to half-mast. Likewise before it is lowered at sunset, it should first be hoisted right up and then lowered back down.

Flags should be flown at half-mast on the following occasions

  • From the announcement of the death up to the funeral of the Sovereign, except on Proclamation Day (the Day of the announcement of the Accession of the new Sovereign), when the flags are hoisted right up from 11:00am to sunset,
  • In the event of the death of a member of the Royal Family, flags should be lowered from the day of death to the day of the funeral, subject to special commands from Her Majesty in each case,
  • The funerals of foreign rulers, subject to special commands from Her Majesty in each case,
  • The funerals of Prime Ministers and ex-Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom, subject to special commands from Her Majesty in each case,
  • The Department for Culture, Media and Sport will inform of any other occasions where Her Majesty has given a special command.

What happens when flag flying days coincide with days for flying flags at half-mast?

Flags should be flown right up:

  • although a member of the Royal Family, or a near relative of the Royal Family, may be lying dead, unless special commands are received from Her Majesty to the contrary, and
  • although it may be the day of the funeral of a foreign ruler.

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Union Flag flying days

The Union Flag is required to be flown on specific days.

For details of Union Flag Flying days see:

Other special days may be added at Her Majesty's command.

Adur and Worthing, along with other authorities, now flies the Union Flag on every day when the mast may not be used for another purpose.

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Adur District Council flag

The Adur District Council flag will be flown on the Adur Civic Centre for:

  • Meetings of Full Council
  • Chairman's Sunday (Civic Service)
  • Chairman's Official Reception
  • HMS Shoreham visits
  • Sussex day - 16th June 

and at half mast:

  • Death of ex-Chairman
  • Death of a member of the council
  • A member of council staff who died during the course of carrying out the duties of his/her employment

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Worthing Borough Council flag

The Worthing Borough Council flag will be flown on the Worthing Town Hall for:

  • Meetings of Full Council

and at half mast:

  • Death of a Mayor, Past Mayor, or Honorary Alderman.
  • Death of a member of the council
  • A member of council staff who died during the course of carrying out the duties of his/her employment

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Other flags

  • On St George's Day, 23rd April, the Flag of St George should be flown
  • On Sussex Day, 16th June, the Sussex Flag should be flown
  • Armed Forces Day, 25th June, the Armed Forces Flag should be flown
  • Remembrance in November; Royal British Legion Remembrance Flag should be flown from the Launch of the Poppy Appeal until after Armistice Day (Remembrance Day)

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